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HTC Smart (the Brew one) launches on India’s Airtel at £148 price point

Good news for Qualcomm and HTC as they continue their race across the simply stupendously large development marketplace. To India, then — Bharti Airtel have announced that they will launch the HTC Smart in 30 Indian cities. The ‘market operating price’ will be 9,990 Rupees — or approximately 148 Pounds Sterling ($222).

Now in a country where the average income per head is just over $1,000, spending a quarter of that income on a phone is not necessarily a sensible decision.

But there’s an emerging middle class in India, thirsting for the latest and greatest handsets — so I’m looking forward to seeing how they react to the HTC Smart. Of course the Smart, at the £148 price point, is a heck of a lot more reasonable than some of the other HTC Devices — e.g. the HTC Legend will top out at around $660. Three times the cost of the Smart.

The Smart is a handsome phone. It boasts HTC’s rather swish Sense UI and it looked like quite a capable device when I played with it at Mobile World Congress. You’ve also got HTC’s Friendstream integration too — which puts Facebook, Twitter and Flickr into one stream of updates. Compared to your bog standard Nokia 1600 series, the Smart is going to look pretty nifty.

Good luck to everyone. Get it right in India and the rewards could be massive.

And just to put this in context, the Indian Regulatory Authority reports that India added 19 million new subscribers in December or about 630,000 customers every day. That’s the equivalent of adding an o2 UK every month.

Every single customer will be looking for a handset, too.

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

4 replies on “HTC Smart (the Brew one) launches on India’s Airtel at £148 price point”

Re : “Every single customer will be looking for a hadset too.”
That's actually not true. Carrying multiple SIM cards and multi operator loyalty is pretty much becoming a norm in India. Why? It is cheaper. For example, Reliance Comm. currently offers unlimited free Reliance to Reliance calls at a mere Rs. 39 (not even one USD!) per month! And Airtel offers a cheap data plan of 2 GB per month for Rs. 98 per month (round about $2). So people actually carry 2 to 3 prepaid cards with them, and that is the true story behind India's telecom boom, which is largely overlooked in western media, might I add 🙂
And this is also why locked carrier supplied phones NEVER take off here unlike much of the rest of the world. If I need to use 3 SIMs, a locked iPhone is hardly my device of choice <not o mention it is prohibitively expensive here. $1000 for the 32GB 3gs, locked>.
This is also why cheap low end Nokias like the 1203 and 1600 sell dime a dozen. They're Nokia's cash cows.

HTC is entering this price segment for the first time in India and it's gonna be a bit tough taking on Nokia and Samsung and the Chinese phones . But HTC is going to spend around $1 million for marketing the Smart in India. LG marketed the Cookie Pep recently . Gonna be interesting to watch how the Smart sells 🙂

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